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Looking for Opinions on The Best Low Cost Drill Press Vise

HMH

Plastic
Joined
Apr 9, 2022
Recently I've been looking for a new 4" drill press vise to replace the $20 one I bought off of Amazon several years ago that deflects like it's made of rubber when I clamp something in it. I've been doing some research and shopping around for something that's better than what I have but still <$100. I don't exactly have a huge budget to work with here so I'm trying to find a decent middle ground between cost and quality. I've gathered a list of 7 different vises that are below $100 (not including shipping) and I wanted to get some opinions from people that may have them or may know of people that have them. If you have or know anyone that has any of the vises in the list below, please let me know what you/they think of them. Or if you know of any similar cost and style vises that you or somebody else owns that you would recommend let me know. My main concern is how parallel the jaws stay when clamping, but casting quality and precision are also important.

Wilton Low Profile 4" Vise
Amazon.com: Wilton LP4, 4-Inch Low-Profile Drill Press Vise (11744) : Tools & Home Improvement

HHIP 4" Drill Press Vise
HHIP 3901-0184 Pro-Series Industrial 4" Drill Press Vise: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Gibraltar 4" Drill Press Vise
https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/70037882

Gibraltar 4" Machine Vise
https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/70037858

Dayton 4" Machine Vise
DAYTON Machine Vise, Standard, Fixed Base, 4 in Jaw Opening '('In.')', 4 in Jaw Width '('In.')' - 6Z846'|'6Z846 - Grainger

Dayton 4" Drill Press Vise
https://www.grainger.com/product/DAYTON-Machine-Vise-3W761?findingMethod=lists&opr=ILHL

McMaster-Carr 4" Drill Press Vise
https://www.mcmaster.com/52855A22/
 

Clive603

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Location
Sussex, England
Short answer is none of the above, especially if keeping the jaws parallel is important to you.

Regrettably and objectively all you are buying is a more polished turd.

Ensuring reliably parallel jaws is a major factor in why real milling vices go for big bucks.

I guess one of the import angle-lock "Kurt clones" targeted at impecunious hobby shop types is probably adequately up for your planned use as bought. If you get the type with the bolt on fixed jaw they can later be re-worked into something pretty decent once you have access to a milling machine.

Keep saving.

Fact is drill vice jaws are intended to have a little bit of flex because, back in the day when design involved some engineering and understanding of the users need rather than simply selecting the size and colour of the logo, it was known that out of square parts would need to be held with some regularity. Indeed UK firm Record made a range with jaws having significant swivel capability. Deceptively simple in design but effective.

Essentially to keep the jaws parallel without lift needs a nicely fitted guide of decent size under the moving jaw with a smooth accurate surface to run on. Which none of these have. My excellent little UK made Nippy has a well engineered dovetail guide system but it wasn't super cheap to make and takes careful adjustment to set up to work well. With those imports you will be lucky if the contact face underneath is fully machined let alone have any proper side guiding capability. I imagine the ones with a rod down the middle, like the Wilton, might have better fit but the rod will tend to flex under load so there are limits. That style is common and effective on properly made lighter duty push up by hand and lock vices where the design is appropriate to the duties.

When funds and facilities are seriously limited its worth considering whether you can make a version of the simple and effective float-lock vice device. Some really cheap versions have been made using off the shelf rods, all thread and chunks of bar stock. The users seem quite happy.

Clive
 
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Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
Out of what you have listed, I'd go with the Wilton, purely because they have been making vises for almost 100 years, and I had one about 30 years ago and it was good quality.
But if you're able to hold off longer and get one that isn't sub-$100 you'll be happier.
 

slowmotion

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Danville Virginia
I have a simple philosophy with tool/equipment purchases. Let's say the difference between good quality and crap is $500. You plan on keeping the tool for 30 years. $500 ammortized over 30 years is $1.38 a month. Is it worth putting up with inferior tooling resulting in inferior work for $1.38 a month?
 

Pathogen

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Little machine shop dot com

part 1755

I use on a little mill and remove the swivel base

I touch off from the fixed jaw for zeroing my readouts

I find it to be most excellent
 

Terry Keeley

Stainless
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
Toronto, Canada eh!
Forget the major suppliers when looking for cheap China crap, if you're hell bent on going that route go direct to the source (or at least closer to it) and cut out the corporate fat.

Here's a similar $167 Wilton on FleeBay for $29: Olympia Tools Flat Drill Press Vise 38-714 4 Inches 883652387145 | eBay

Or the same for $79: Wilton 11674 4" Industrial Drill Press Vise 662755100062 | eBay

I would find something used in decent shape if you want any kind of quality.

Maybe a little better quality crap? 5" Machine Vise Clamp Drill Press Vice Metal Milling Mechanic with Swivel Base | eBay

"Impecunious", had to look that up, lol. impecunious - Google Search
 

rklopp

Diamond
Joined
Feb 27, 2001
Location
Redwood City, CA USA
I bought a Shars brand 6" drill press vise for the high school robotics shop recently. The quality was shockingly good. As in, as good or better than the US equivalent back in 1967.
 

Clive603

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Location
Sussex, England

Third that.

An excellent device with some clever engineering in the locking system to push the jaw forward from its initial position held against the work by about 1/32" to convert hand push to good'n tight. Maybe not quite the ultimately strenggth as a screw system but plenty strong enough for all sensible work within its size. Inherently fast.

As ever import clones can be found which, as ever, aren't as good as the original. Fit on the bars is worse and the locking device somewhat less effective.

I no longer use mine having switched to one of the better 6" cross vice units which suits my work these days.

Clive
 

CalG

Diamond
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Location
Vt USA
What is the ultimate drill press vise ?

I've been using one much like that shown in the image on post #20. It is very useful ! Being clamped to the table , yet movable is a great feature. Still, the jaws "spread" when clamping , care must be taken to be sure the work isn't a future projectile.
 

Clive603

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Location
Sussex, England
I don't know anything about the quality or lack thereof of this vise, but I would like to have two -- quality ones -- to use with my vertical band saw and drill presses.

4" Cnc Vise Clamp Vice Precision Vise Milling Drilling Machine 100mm Jaw Width | VEVOR US

In the UK Vevor is getting a reputation for hit and miss quality and a certain lack of clarity as to where products are shipped from. Folk have been surprised by being hit with customs charges fro things that were allegedly supplied from a UK warehouse.

Its reported that particular model generally needs some re-machining and clean up work before its up to milling machine duties. Probably OK as a drill vice as delivered.

Vevor is just a brand buying generic stuff from various factories. Quality control and exact dimensions change for the "same thing" depending on which factory made this months stock.

Clive
 

PackardV8

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Location
Spokane, WA
Just wondering how I've managed to own and operate dozens of DPs over the past fifty years without a $350 precision vise?

jack vines

P.S. - I went to a friend's shop who was bragging about his new precision vise. He was using a MT2 spindle with a chuck on a MT2 adapter. The point of the drill was damn near a foot from the spindle bearing; the vise really added a lot of precision.
 

Ultradog MN

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
It is a 2 edged sword.
All this cheap China crap that has allowed a lot of guys to do a little machining vs a generation of men who don't understand the intrinsic value of a quality tool.
I hate to think of what kind of a drill press he is using this vise on.
 

Clive603

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Location
Sussex, England
Just wondering how I've managed to own and operate dozens of DPs over the past fifty years without a $350 precision vise?

jack vines

Well yeah me too.

But the OP did specifically ask about decently parallel jaws and that has always pushed you into the realms of higher end and precision drill press vices or lower end milling vices.

Of course the real market for the higher end and precision vices was always production set ups, like a set of lever lock vices with shaped jaws under a multi spindle drill with jobs moving from vice to vice, not hand held under a bench or pillar drill. I imagine you put relatively precise stuff in the mill anyway, as I do, so paying for real good for the drill was wasted cash.

But there is something re-assuring about the nice grip of a decently made drill press vice like my old Nippy when compared to an OK but more down market Record or similar.

Nippy.jpeg

Important not to overlook the distinction between wood workers vices which are deliberately made floppy so the jaws settle around the work if its out of square rather than dig in, as a rigid set would, and a metalworkers vice where more solid jaws are needed for better grip on an unyielding object. Even then some flex is desirable if working on castings and un-machined stock. I had a floppier Record for when the Nippy was a bit too precise.

The worry with all the cheap China imports is the way they have eroded the distinction between honestly inexpensive with a modest but useful, reliable, performance and crap which isn't safely up to any job (at least as bought) let alone what it purports to be.

For folk like us "Some fettling or re-machining needed" before it works as you'd expect is acceptable when it saves a month or twos pension over the real thing but for less experienced folk it can be downright dangerous.

For example many years ago I got one of the big 6" cross vice units shortly after they came into the UK. Objectively its on the floppy side of OK but its done well enough for me that 30 years of "I should make something better" has never got further than numerous sketches the back of envelopes.

Buying better isn't an option as what I want isn't sold. The inexpensive imports mean the necessary price performance ratio has no kerb appeal.

Inspired by mine a friend recently bought the current version. Not a happy camper. Cheapened down and de-specified to the point of being downright dangerous. He can work round the deficiencies, just, as he does little shop work these days. Serious risk of flying jobs in novice hands.

Doesn't help the beginner that there are a wide range of legitimately different styles and types with overlapping, but not identical, design performance ranges. Selecting best fit for the range of work you do, or plan to do, is hard. When folk are unsure they tend to buy cheap .... rarely a good strategy in objective terms unless you are prepared to say "Now I know what I want." bin cheapy and buy good.

Clive
 
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HMH

Plastic
Joined
Apr 9, 2022
Just want to say thanks to everyone who has replied, I appreciate all the info. As for saving up for a nicer vise, I'm not sure when I'll be able to afford a good one and I have a lot of other things I'd like to have for my shop. Also I figure I should clarify my "shop" is more like a shed with power ran out to it if that gives any idea of the quality and cost of tools inhabiting it. Which is part of why I don't want to spend too much on a vise.
 

Sidebite

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Location
Lomita, CA
From the choices you provided, I would pick one of the 3 with machined sides, like the HHIP offering. This type is more versatile, allowing use in more orientations. I have one of that type that I often find a need to use on its side, or even upside down to hold stock in the vertical band saw. Downside is you need more than just bolts to hold it down to the table, but strap clamps are easy to improvise.
 








 
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